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Google's New Robot Will Give the Karate Kid A Run For His Money: VIDEO

Robot

Boston Dynamics, a firm owned by Google, has created a robot that is at once awe-inspiring and terrifying. In a new video released by the tech firm, the robot simulates a balancing act that may be familiar to fans of the film The Karate Kid, as The Guardian points out:

The Atlas robot created by Google-owned firm Boston Dynamics is a formidable figure at 6ft 2in tall and weighing in at 330lb.

The robot boasts 28 hydraulically actuated joints and stereo vision, and is one of the most advanced robots ever created.

However, it's not just karate - Ian has another trick up his sleeve - software written by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Interaction which allows him to drive a car.

'To achieve this level of maneuverability in robots, researchers at IHMC look toward nature,' the team say.

'Inspired by the speed of cheetahs, the endurance of horses, the maneuverability of monkeys, and the versatility of humans, IHMC researchers are on a quest to develop legged robots that are fast, efficient, and graceful, with the mobility required to access many of the same places that humans can.'

Watch Ian in action, AFTER THE JUMP...

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MIT Researchers Create Robotic Cheetah: VIDEO

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Researchers at MIT have been trying to understand animal locomotion and thanks to the development of a recent "bounding" algorithm, those researchers are now making great strides. They have created a robotic cheetah which they hope will simulate and ultimately match the abilities of an actual cheetah. Currently the MIT robot cheetah can run up to 10 mph and jump over a 33 cm high obstacle. The goal of this research?

“Recently we are focusing on quadrupeds, or four-legged animals and we try to understand how they efficiently run in the field and nature so that we can take that inspiration and then use it in our engineering world. So for example we can create prosthetic legs out of that technology and you could even make new transportation replacing cars so that you don't need the road in our world.”

 Watch a video of Robo-Cheetah in action, along with interviews with the researchers, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Robosnakes Will Slither Their Way into Your Heart, Literally: VIDEO

Robosnake

Adding to the menagerie of creepy robots that includes the Martian-esque MorpHex hexapod and Boston Dynamics' aptly-named Cheetah is Medrobotics' robosnake. The artificial reptiles can climb poles, are waterproof, and can even be deployed inside you for heart surgery. Surely there is nothing to fear.

You can watch the robosnake in action and study its weaknesses AFTER THE JUMP...

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Why In The World Do We Need A Robot Kangaroo? - VIDEO

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You can now add robot kangaroos to the ever-growing list of robot animals that will one day be our overlords, including the cinder-block tossing robot dogs, robot sand fleascreepy robo-spiders and the robo-cheetah.

The kangaroo is developed by a company called Festo, and while you may be wondering why the heck engineers would want to build a robot kangaroo (or "robo-roo" as we shall now call it), it’s all part of their Bionic Learning Network:

Whether it’s energy efficiency, lightweight construction or function integration – over time, nature has developed a wealth of optimisation strategies for adapting to its environment, and these strategies can be applied to the world of engineering. The Biomechatronic Footprint documents this evolution – from a natural model to a basic technical principle, followed by bionic adaptation and ending with industrial application.

Apart from counterbalacing technology that could one day help people with prosthetic legs jump more ably, robo-roo also uses kinetic energy from each jump to help power its next jump — an interesting innovation indeed.

If you’d like to see what other robot overlords Festo will destroy us with in the future, you can also check out their entire menagerie of robo-animals including robotic penguins, jellyfish and birds.

See robo-roo in action AFTER THE JUMP...

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The Elegant Flight of a Four-winged Robot Jellyfish: WATCH

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Dr. Leif Ristroph from New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences created this adorable little four-winged robot prototype with the shape and flight pattern reminiscent of a jellyfish. Ristroph and his colleagues at NYU believe the design could potentially improve the surveillance/search mission and atmospheric monitoring capabilities of robots.

Via NewScientist:

The design should be especially useful for making centimetre-scale robots that drift through the air. It is quite robust - it can crash into objects while remaining unharmed - and with a weight of 2 grams it easily gets carried by a breeze, which could be an advantage. "We could use this type of robot to float around and take measurements, for example to monitor carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere," says Ristroph. 

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Meet Wildcat, The Military's Wireless Running Robot: VIDEO

Wildcat

Meet the Wildcat, a four-legged robot that can gallop, run backwards, bound, turn and run on flat terrain. One day developers hope to get it running quickly on all types of terrain.

The group behind the Wildcat — Boston Dynamics — is also the group that developed the 28 mile per hour Cheetah. But unlike the Cheetah, the Wildcat runs only 16 miles per hours and it is wirelessly controlled using a large powerful engine instead of an electrical plug to fuel its movements. In comparison, the fastest man in the world — Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt — can run a top speed of 23.7 mph and even then only in short bursts. Over long distances, the Wildcat would likely overtake Bolt.

The Wildcat is being developed under the U.S. Military Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Maximum Mobility and Manipulation (M3) program, a program dedicated to designing robots to "assist in the execution of military operations far more effectively across a far greater range of missions" than what present technology currently allows.

You can add this to the list of super-bots that will one day rule humanity including the cinder-block tossing robot dog, the robot sand fleas, the creepy robo-spider and the sneaky bots that cheats at rock, paper, scissors.

See the Wildcat in action AFTER THE JUMP...

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